The humour column in our February issue was controversial, with lengthy discussions ensuing at Miscellany for deletion, ANI, ArbCom, and other forums. As a result the humour page was blanked but not deleted. We were saddened that our acting editor-in-chief and two other contributors subsequently left The Signpost of their own volition.
The column's headline was “Pesky pronouns”, but was about non-neutral writing of several kinds. The column was originally written by SMcCandlish, one of Wikipedia's most productive and thoughtful editors, on a user page. With his consent we reprinted it in last month's Signpost. Some readers interpreted the pronoun-related material as an attack against the transgender community. We do not believe that any Signpost editor or contributor intended to attack the transgender community, but we also do not believe that our readers were wrong to complain about the column.
Rather, we believe that we can now use this controversy as an opportunity to inform all of our readers and staff about violence and discrimination against the transgender community and how we can all work to prevent it in our lives and online. The special report by Bluerasberry is one step towards this goal.
We apologize to all our readers who were offended by the column. As Wikipedia's internal newspaper for the community, The Signpost must be more sensitive to potential offense or insult among our diverse readership. In hindsight, we should not have published the column.
We pledge that we will never attack or mock any group whose members include those who do not have a choice about their membership in the group. Groups covered by this pledge include, but are not limited to, those based on race, nationality, sex, gender, age, disability, social or economic status, veteran status, body type, or religion.
Is it even possible to write humor that doesn't ever mock these groups? Of course it is! An excellent example is in this issue's humour column, The Epistolary of Arthur 37.
We are sad to see the departure of three contributors from The Signpost. Bri and Kudpung saved this publication a year ago after the unannounced departure of its then editor-in-chief and a hiatus in publishing. We will be grateful for as long as there is a Signpost—which we expect to be a long time. Also departing is Barbara (WVS), our long-time humour columnist who has been as funny and good-humoured as her columns.
We're sorry that contributors to The Signpost sometimes are subject to such storm and fury.
You might know me as Smallbones, and perhaps even know something of my work about paid editing, or seen some of my photos of sites on the National Register of Historic Places. I'm The Signpost's new editor-in-chief.
I'll try not to overwhelm you with my two favorite topics—not everybody has the same interests I do. The best way to counter the problem of the EiC's interests dominating The Signpost is to submit your own articles on your own favorite topics, or just drop us a suggestion on a topic that interests you on our suggestion page.
An important part of the EiC job is to ensure that The Signpost follows Wikipedia's rules and to read every word in every article to make sure violations of our policies and guidelines do not happen. If you believe there is a violation, please politely inform us on the article's talk page. I'll take every such report seriously, even if I disagree with you. If there is no satisfactory response, please email me directly and I'll try my best to make sure that any violations are corrected. This promise is not a guarantee that I'll take the actions you request. I will not censor a contributor's opinion simply because you disagree with it.
All Wikipedia users have the right to take any further complaints to the Administrators' noticeboard for incidents or the arbitration committee, but please remember that your complaint will be against me, since I am in charge of compliance with Wikipedia's rules, and not against our writers, staff or other contributors.